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Paul McNamara

Teaching Philosophy
My teaching is very much informed by my experience of hearing countless singers each year in an audition & competition context, many of whom, for various reasons, fail to make the desired impact.

As singers, we are so often fixated with achieving particular results that we don’t truly manage to be in the moment. Because of this, a primary focus of my work is to explore how we can shift from “controlling the results” to “taking control of the process”.

As an efficiently functioning, well-calibrated technique is the indispensable basis for any sustainable singing career, singers often focus on technique in isolation. To my mind true (authentic) artistic expression is rarely integrated early enough into the technical process.

In my teaching I am interested in how we apply our technique in a musical context as a means of giving voice to our individual artistry. The vocalism of language is central to my work: how we use words not only to express but in order to achieve a genuine legato etc.. Sound alone is rarely the key.

I believe there is no one model of teaching “to fit all” – lessons are about finding a common language in a supportive environment that enables us to evolve and understand more.

A further priority of mine is to support students in compiling a coherent and personally representative audition list that also functions from a European perspective.

In terms repertoire, I have a real affinity for the music of the early nineteenth century in particular Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini (probably stemming from my fascination with freedom of breath as the basis of all expression) and German operatic and Lied repertoire of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – the music that is still central to my performance career.


From Ireland, Paul McNamara is based in The Netherlands where he is Artistic Leader of the Dutch National Opera Academy, the collaborative master’s in opera performance offered by the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in partnership with the Royal Conservatoire The Hague.

The tenor has appeared in opera houses throughout Germany and Austria performing roles such as Wagner’s Claudio (Das Liebesverbot), Erik, Tannhäuser, Loge, Tristan, Siegfried, Mime and Parsifal. In addition to operas by Berg, Braunfels, Schillings, Schreker, Strauss, Korngold and Zemlinsky, his extensive repertoire also includes work by Cavalli, Monteverdi, Mozart, Weber, Meyerbeer, Leoncavallo, Tchaikowsky, Janáček, Britten, Previn, Penderecki and John Adams.

He has been heard at major venues including Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, Teatr Wielki – the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, and with the Salzburg Festival at the Beijing Music Festival. A keen recitalist, concert appearances have taken him to many of the world’s leading venues including the Berlin Philharmonie, the Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and New York’s Carnegie Hall as well as to the Telemann Festival in Hamburg with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

Current and upcoming engagements include appearances with the Nederlandse Reisopera, the Berliner Staatsoper, Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken, the Opéra Royal de Versailles and Opéra national du Rhin, Strasbourg.

An alumnus of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Paul McNamara is an honours graduate of the University College Cork, the Cork School of Music and the Royal College of Music London. He is a casting consultant for the Stichting Omroep Muziek (Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir) and Opera Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland (An Chomhairle Ealaíon).

Much demand as a teacher, career consultant and juror in international singing competitions, in addition to returning to AIMS, 2024 will see him give masterclasses in The Netherlands and Germany, as well as working with the singers at the Oberösterreichische Opernstudio in Linz.